With more flexibility in your beliefs about communication between the sexes, you can begin to appreciate and integrate the unique opinions and attitudes of the men who mean the most to you. Here are more comments from our poll.

Adam reflected on the process he and his second wife were still working on in couples’ counseling. “I’m committed to being fully present, to making requests and talking about what I need instead of complaining. I’m also trying to satisfy my wife’s requests and needs. This has become the core dynamic of our successful life together. We’ll schedule appointments to sit down and talk without distractions, then make agreements based on what is best for ‘us’. Sometimes we revisit these agreements a month later but usually not. But we both try to compromise and avoid resentment.”

Like Adam, Carl was in the midst of a learning curve, thanks to the intervention of couples’ therapy. He was discovering the benefit of bringing feelings to conscious awareness as well as the value of sometimes even keeping his thoughts to himself. “I’m determined not to overplay my hand. My two older brothers taught me to be brutal and use my words like a weapon. I need to remember to slow down, to be patient. Especially since my wife is a person with a particularly painful background and certain fears.”

When Jeremy closed his business he was worried about adjusting to an unstructured lifestyle. Retirement has brought many gifts to him and his wife, including fuller and deeper conversations. He attributes this in part to being under less pressure. He also gives specific credit to his own efforts. “Retirement has made it easier to talk to my wife. I’m no longer driven by making it in the business world or by work deadlines. I’m trying to be more reflective as well as more positive. My wife appreciates that. It’s obvious that my change in attitude has made a difference. She is more responsive to me and to what I need from her.”

As you can see, not all men think alike. This Father’s Day give the gift of understanding to your partner, your Father, your brothers and your sons.

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